CLO TwentyEighty Strategy Execution
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Six steps toward a better training programme

14th Dec 2015
CLO TwentyEighty Strategy Execution
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In executing against your company’s key learning objectives, skilful presentation, engaging learning materials and a framework that always aligns with your company’s strategic intent are crucial for making a good corporate-wide training programme truly great, as well as cost-effective.

Selecting a framework within which to organise the strategy, structure and execution of any training programme is essential. A framework can serve as a guide to help any organisation assure that the strategy, structure and execution of their training programme is maximised to enable positive change and prove its value as an investment in staff. 

For the purposes of this article, I will use a framework based on six domains that should be a part of any forward-thinking company’s training programme approach. The framework and its domains serve as a smart calibration against pertinent issues such as:

  • Who you are and why you exist as an organisation or department
  • The context in which your organisation or department operates
  • The direction your organisation or department is going
  • What you need to create to achieve your strategic goals
  • How you will build it, and
  • How you will operate

The framework has six domains: Ideation, Nature, Vision, Engagement, Synthesis and Transition. By linking strategy to execution through these domains, organisations remain focused on the initiatives essential to accelerating innovation, increasing performance, managing change and scaling the business. 

When applied correctly, a consistent framework creates an environment that can transform the way organisations – or departments or teams -- think, lead and execute, ultimately driving increased revenue, profitability and market share – or in this case, more effective talent management programmes that guide training programmes, talent retention and growth efforts, all of which moves the business forward. Time and again, this approach has proven successful at helping departments or entire companies retool so that they are selecting the most advantageous strategic projects and are executing those projects effectively.  

Isn’t that exactly the context in which company-wide training should be regarded as a contributor of added value?

Whether your training is conducted virtual and online, live and in person, using pre-recorded video or some combination of these and other methods, this framework is a way to achieve greater discipline and alignment to the overall organisation’s learning needs. The framework goes beyond a typical checklist to address a more holistic and, therefore, more effective approach to moving training and the business at large forward with an eye on the big picture. 

The domains include: 

Ideation

The fundamental concept of your learning and development department and the training programmes it offers. As expressed through its purpose, identity and long-range intention, it’s the articulation of the reasons for the department and its programmes, what you hope to achieve in the longer term and, importantly, the character and values of the department and its programmes. 

Nature

This domain reflects the environment, culture, structure and strategic context within which the training organisation operates. The Nature domain helps to create the conditions for strategic execution and assures that the department’s nature aligns with that of the larger organisation, avoiding conflicts between the two.

Vision

Along with the Ideation and Nature domains, Vision is more focused on strategy-making rather than strategy execution. Vision, because it includes the training programme’s goals, metrics and strategy serves as the ultimate direction setting for where you want the learning and development organisation and its training programmes to go in contributing best to the success of your business. 

Engagement

The Engagement domain connects strategy to execution. It’s where you assure that what you have articulated for Ideation, Nature and Vision align with what you decide to execute.  Engagement is a clear demonstration that your company is funding training programmes that align with the long-range intention of the learning and development department as well as the organisation’s purpose to further its strategy. 

Synthesis

Where your organisation’s learning strategy is actually executed, Synthesis assures that you’re successfully carrying out projects that are mapped to the priorities and funding allocations you determined through the process of identifying and articulating strategic objectives.

Transition

Turning results into operations, Transition is the ultimate measure of strategy-execution success, where you move the training programme’s impact of improved understanding, ideas and processes into the mainstream of your company’s operations. This is where the impact of the training programme itself should be observed and measured for performance at the individual level, as well as at the level of the learning and development organisation and, of course, at the business impact level as determined by the metrics identified in Vision domain. In Transition, it’s assumed that the training programme has been developed; that its effectiveness has been thoroughly tested; that its impact is being measured; and that it is now part of day-to-day operations.

Each domain presents opportunities for improvement. Having a framework helps you identify disconnects and barriers to successful execution of your learning and development programme or other initiatives and can be adapted depending on your company’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Some companies know exactly who they are and what they want to be, but they may not have the structure to support it. Others may tend to focus on the tactical and veer away from the strategic path to engage in fire-fighting projects. And still others may have particular difficulty making the final step to embrace and operationalise the results of the project.

No matter which domains are most relevant for you, or what your key business initiatives may be, you can use the framework as a sliding scale, depending on your needs. It provides a common language and way of understanding how businesses successfully execute, innovate, change and grow. 

By assessing your department or organisation within the context of these domains and making necessary adjustments, you will create a strong foundation for dynamic, energising training programmes that’s recognized and appreciated for proving its value as well as for its impact on your workforce and your organisation.

 

Tim Wasserman is the Chief Learning Officer for TwentyEighty Strategy Execution, and the Program Director for the Stanford Advanced Project Management (SAPM) program.

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